Headaches since going veg - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 07-31-2005, 08:04 PM
 
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I went l/o vegetarian about 6 months ago (with a brief stint of veganism in there somewhere), and the past month or so I've been getting headaches rather frequently, and I feel a little achy as well. It usually is extremely rare that I get headaches, so I can't help but think that they have something to do with the recent changes in my diet. Can anyone think of a certain vitamin/nutrient I may be missing that would be causing this? Thanks for all your help!
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#2 Old 07-31-2005, 08:08 PM
 
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Hmm..it might help if you provide some more details, such as:



*are there any other things, aside from meat, that you've cut from your diet (caffeine, dairy, etc.)

*is there anything you've been eating more of? Beans, soy, dairy, whatever

*is there a pattern to the headaches...do they come at a certain time of day, everyday, last the same length of time, etc.

*how would you describe the pain of the headache (all over, in the front by your eyes, on one side, etc.)

*what are you doing to treat the pain currently?



<<lots of (past..yay!) experience with headaches.

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#3 Old 07-31-2005, 08:19 PM
 
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Meat (and meat products of course) is basically the only thing I've cut out... as I said, I'm back to dairy and eggs, although my main dairy intake is through ice cream (which I eat a few times a week); I use soymilk on my cereal. I drink about 3 bottles of water a day... oj or vegetable juice here and there, and I never drink soda.



I don't really think I'm eating more of anything in particular, as I rarely ate meat to begin with. I eat whole grain bread & pasta, use ww flour when I'm cooking... I eat miscellaneous vegetables every day, namely tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, corn, zucchini, squash...



They're not strong headaches, just sort of an overall ache. Not unbearable, but certainly noticable. I usually get them in the evening... I basically try to ignore them, as I don't like taking medications if I don't absolutely have to.
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#4 Old 08-01-2005, 01:09 AM
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RP from what you have posted it doesn't sound like it is diet related and I am doubtful that it is caused by a vitamin deficiency - but anything is possible, so if your headaches persist it may be useful to keep a food diary.



My main guesses for the potential causes of chronic headaches (But keep in mind that unfortunately it is unknown what causes the majority of headaches. And different things cause headaches in different people.)



Stress, anxiety

Changes in medication (esp different type of birth control? different dose?)

Change in job? New computer chair? New bed? this can lead to different muscles being used and strained

Infection? If it was a major one such as meningitis then the headache would be getting a lot worse over time, your neck would feel stiff and light would start to bother you, so I doubt it is that but there are a couple other types of minor infections that have potential to cause headaches.

All of those listed so far will normally resolve themselves in time (except meningitis)

Blood sugar - doubtful, but you could be a diabetic without knowing and could be suffering from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Eyes - your eyes might be straining. could need glasses, or stronger prescriptions. It is possible (but pretty rare) for young people to develop glaucoma etc.



I do know of one case of a chronic headache developing a couple months after the person became a vegetarian. A friend of mine became a vegetarian when she was about 15. Within months she developed a mild headache that was almost constant for 3 years or so. She was examined by a couple specialists who told her that she had mild brain swelling and they couldn't figure out why or how to reduce the swelling. After the 3 years someone suggested that she cut out the dairy out of her diet and her headache and brain swelling went away within days and have not returned in the several years since. I am sure the specialists are pretty skeptical that the diet change had anything to do with the headache and swelling going away. But she believes that the swelling was caused by a reaction from eating an increase in dairy (esp cheese) after becoming a vegetarian due to concerns about protein and calcium consumption. While I think it is highly unusual for that type of reaction, I know her quite well and I think that is what must have happened in her case.
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#5 Old 08-01-2005, 08:50 AM
 
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Stress & anxiety aren't it... I've never been a very stressful person... I've never been on any medications either, so no birth control changes... no change in job or computer chair, but I have been sleeping on the couch the past week or two while I redo my room. I really can't remember, but I'm almost positive I've had the headaches longer than that. I just had my yearly eye exam a few days ago, and they told me my prescription really hasn't changed.



Now that I really think about it, my summer sleeping patterns probably have a great deal to do with it... between sleeping on the couch, and staying up late/getting up late (I work from 1:30 - 9:30 at night, so I'm still up and ready to do stuff by the time I get home...), I'm probably causing my own headaches. I guess I contributed them to my eating habits, since these sleeping patterns arise every summer and I've never had headaches before. I'll post back if the headaches persist after my sleeping patterns change. Thank you both very much, for taking the time to write all of that out, I really appreciate it!
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#6 Old 08-01-2005, 07:42 PM
 
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Good luck with the sleep adjustments..hopefully that's it. Sleeping on the couch probably puts you into all sorts of funny positions.



It does sound unlikely that it's dietary related, unless you have a food intolerance that just hasn't shown up until now. Dairy was a big trigger for me with headaches/migraines, but the pain you're describing doesn't sound like a migraine, but a tension headache (which granted, can still hurt like hell, lol).



If you're seeking to avoid medicine, you might try some rhythmic breathing/meditation when the headaches occur. This worked wonderfully for me with headaches. It is however, a bit more time consuming that downing some ibuprofen, so sometimes it wasn't practical for me.



Be sure to get yourself checked out if it lasts for awhile. The pain comes and goes, which is a good sign, but you know..you want to rule out all the "bad stuff".

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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